News - September 2018
Alone by Choice
written by Rev. Dale R. Minor, Candy and Doug Matthew’s pastor from Ohio. Edited for space.
Among the books generally assigned as required reading for
middle or high school students is Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe first
published in 1719. This book covers the
many adventures of Crusoe including his several years of being marooned on a
deserted island. At least it seemed deserted for quite a while, a period during
which the hero had to deal with extreme loneliness.
A more modern version of such a tail is the movie, Cast
Away, starring Tom Hanks. In this
story Hank’s character is an employee of the FedEx Company who is involved in a
plane crash at sea which leaves him the lone survivor who makes his way to an
uncharted island. This story, while
dealing with the physical trials of simple survival, also speaks to the
emotional trauma of being alone. At one
point our hero finds some packages which have drifted ashore from the wrecked
plane and discovers a soccer ball among them. Eventually the castaway paints a
face on the ball and names it Wilson.
This becomes his companion, someone to talk to, one who listens to the
ravings of a man who at times is on the edge of losing his mind. This story provides an excellent study of the
effects of isolation.
Recently I have been considering people in our culture who
spend a great deal of time alone, -- by choice!
I am not talking about those who could be classified as hermits, those
who, for what ever reason, have retreated from society to live apart from the
crowd. I am talking about people who
have become isolated while living in densely populated areas. Those who
stubbornly cling to a deserted island called “self.”
Its no secret that we live in “the information age” and modern
technology makes every imaginable bit of information available at our
fingertips. [Yet] True communication is more than an exchange of words, it is a sharing of lives
and spirits culminating in the development of relationships. And the development of relationships is key
to a healthy, vibrant and joyful living.
This is true in our spiritual lives as well as in our
personal and business dealings. In our faith communities we speak often of
having a personal relationship with Jesus. Basically this means that through
the power of the Holy Spirit we have developed a relationship of faith, love,
trust, and friendship with Jesus such that we are in constant communion with
Him. However, many people find in
difficult to perceive of such a relationship because they have never been able
to enjoy such attributes among those they want to call friends.
It has been said, it is difficult for a person to understand
God as a loving, merciful, nuturing Father if that person has never had such a
father in their lives. If a persons father was absent, or was mean and nasty,
uncaring, etc. they tend to transfer such traits to God and thus want nothing
to do with Him. Likewise, as we become
more and more isolated by our life choices…by the walls we erect to ward off hurts,
etc., we can find ourselves more estranged from everyone, including our Lord.
God has made it clear that a healthy spiritual life is
dependent upon our establishing a personal relationship with Jesus; a
relationship made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. How will we know how to establish such a
relationship with One who is Spirit if we haven’t first learned how to enter
into relationship with flesh and blood people who sit in the same room with us?
questions and actions are designed to help you find ways to take
Sunday’s Scripture out into
the world as the hands and feet
Making You Think
We’re all naïve in some ways. How do you
think you are naïve? Do you feel good or bad about this?
How do you think somebody could be
persuaded to do something foolish?
What consequences might you suffer if you
don’t take precautions against succumbing to temptation?
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to
mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you
can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you
can endure it.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
Consider one area where you often face temptation. In a moment
when you’re not facing that
temptation, devise a plan to get through it, the next time temptation hits.
This is much easier when you are not in the heat of the moment!
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